MANAMA: Several rioters were arrested and five policemen injured yesterday as gangs of thugs sowed chaos across Bahrain.
The Interior Ministry said security forces had to deal with illegal rallies and acts of sabotage in different parts of the country, which caused massive tailbacks on most of the major highways and roads.
A group of saboteurs stormed Bahrain City Centre at around 4pm creating chaos and terrorising shoppers.
They chanted anti-government slogans and started troubling shopkeepers and shoppers present in the centre.
A mall spokeswoman told the GDN the centre was immediately closed after evacuating everyone.
"The vandals broke into the centre and police were called in to take immediate action to evacuate all the people," she said. The situation was brought under control after police arrested several troublemakers.
A witness said the vandals were wearing masks and chanting slogans.
"They all had their faces covered and the atmosphere was really scary," he told the GDN.
One cinema-goer, who was watching the film Cowboys and Aliens at the time of the incident, said he was shocked to leave the theatre and find the mall deserted.
The expat, who asked to remain anonymous, said his friend was in Carrefour when it happened and described how police shut the store and asked customers remain seated in the aisles while they dealt with troublemakers outside.
The Interior Ministry said five policemen sustained various injuries and one of them suffered second degree burns after being attacked by a firebomb.
It also reaffirmed its commitment to self-restraint in assuming its responsibility to maintain security and stability and ensure the safety of citizens and expatriates.
In a statement issued by the ministry, the minister extended his apologies to the mall management, citizens and expatriates for any inconvenience the police operation might have caused.
The demonstrations and rallies were the result of instigative calls posted on social networking sites, the ministry said.
It also said that security forces didn't use shotguns, but only teargas in dealing with yesterday's incidents.